Sue Waters Blog

Have your Blogs.mu cake – and eat it too!

| 15 Comments

People are now asking me about Blogs.mu in terms of school blogging programs so I’ve decided it’s better to clarify because most people won’t appreciate how very different Blogs.mu is from other hosted blogging solutions.

But before I do it is important to point out, to ensure full disclosure, that I work for both Edublogs and Incsub (who own Blogs.mu).

WordPress blog vs WordPress MU blogs

When you sign up for a blog on Edublogs or WordPress.com what happens is these companies host your blog and you can get on with the job of writing your posts and blog design. The highest level of access you have is as an administrator and because it is a hosted solution features like adding extra plugins or uploading themes aren’t possible.

The other option for single blog users, who want to use WordPress but have more control over their blog features such as extra plugins or custom themes, is they will install WordPress from WordPress.org and host their own blog on either their own servers or pay a hosting company.

Once you want to hosts lots of blogs on the same domain then you need to use WordPress MU (WordPress Multiuser and also known as WPMU). Both Edublogs or WordPress.com use WordPress MU but Edublogs has been highly customised by our specialist team WPMU coders to include features that specifically assist educators with using the blogs with students.

WordPress MU blogs vs Edublogs Campus Site

Often schools and universities want higher level of control and access than achievable with Edublogs so they will look at solutions like hosting their own WordPress MU site or Edublogs Campus.

While installing and managing your own WordPress blog is relatively easy, but can cause problems, WordPress MU is considerably more specialized and requires a certain level of expertise.

This is why educational organisations choose Edublogs Campus because it provides all the powerful features of a WordPress MU site without having to worry about the stress of hosting, maintenance and upgrading the software.

The main feature which provides the higher level of control that educational organisations want is access to site admin. On a WordPress MU the next level of access of access above an Administrator is the site admin user.

As site admin user you can:

  1. Manage the access and level of responsibility of all users
  2. Manage blog features including access to plugins, themes and blog privacy settings
  3. Create new users and new blogs
  4. Edit posts, pages, comments on any blog
  5. Reset passwords
  6. Edit and delete any blog

In really simple terms, if you have problems with a student, as site admin user, you can immediately log into the dashboard of their blog, without being attached as a user to that blog, then edit/delete a post/comment plus change whether that student can access their blog.

WordPress MU blogs vs Blogs.mu Community

Blogs.mu is quite a bit different from the hosted Edublogs and WordPress.com. When you sign up with either of these services you are provided with a blog.

On Blogs.mu you can sign up for WordPress MU site of your own and then set up your own blogs, or blog community under it. For example you might like to set up a community on writing called writerspot.blogs.mu and then if the writer John Smith signs up in your community his blog is writerspot.blogs.mu/johnsmith.

Similar to Edublogs with Blogs.mu you can choose to be a free user or a supporter.

With Blogs.mu just like Edublogs Campus you are getting your own WordPress MU site with the high level of control minus the stress of hosting the site and specialist expertise required to maintain or upgrade WordPress MU.

The features of these two sites are quite different because Blogs.mu is designed for anyone who wants to set up a community using their WordPress MU while Edublogs Campus has been customised specifically to meets the needs of the educational community.

For a comparison check out:

  1. Blogs.mu Site Admin Guide
  2. Edublogs Campus Site Admin Guide and log into the University of Blogs Sandpit site

If you’re interested in the technical aspects of how blogs.mu was created check out Barry’s On Muing MU – A technical introduction post.

And if you’re enjoying this blog, please consider Subscribing for free!

Author: Sue Waters

Edublogs Support Manager @suewaters on Twitter

15 Comments

  1. Hi Sue,
    ……..will need to read this again….possibly after relaxing with a good single malt. Just when I thought I understood this whole blogging thing. Thanks for helping us all keep up with relentless change and opportunity.

    • Hi John, I would suggest that you consider drinking the whole bottle (LOL).

      It has taken me quite a bit of time to get my own head around all the different aspects so I’m not surprise by how it would impact others. What they have done (blogs.mu) is taken it to the next level. Which none one has done previously.

      In simple terms Edublogs is WordPress MU where you get your own blog for free while blogs.mu is WordPress MU were you get your own WordPress MU for free! Or as James says they have MUed WPMU. Now I think I need to join you for that drink.

      PS feel free to ask more questions :)

  2. So, is this new platform ad-driven?
    Is that where the “supporter” idea comes in (as with Edublogs)?
    Thanks
    Kevin

    • Hi Kevin, they are both ‘supporter driven’ just as other Web 2.0 services such as wikis and Ning are ‘premium driven’ where features are less on the free versions.

      However because blogs.mu is for all types of bloggers, some of whom do want to raise their own revenue from blogging, people can subscribe as a supporter which provides them the mechanism to add their own ads to their community.

  3. Pingback: Not too sure... « blogs.mu forums

  4. Thank you for freely offering your support and advice for bloggers… it is very helpful indeed. Keep up the good work!

  5. Sue – thanks for the recap on all of these options. I have used edublogs a bit over the years but we installed WPMU as our school web site and it’s worked very well for us.

    We are rolling out student blogging next school year and am wondering if the mods that are done to create the excellent teacher/student relationships inside edublogs are available for self hosted WPMU installs? I’ve pulled together some plugins to help our teachers moderate student blogs but nothing that works as nicely as edublogs.

    thanks

    chris

    • Hi Chris, good questions. Many of the plugins we have developed for Edublogs, or use on Edublogs, are made available through our Premium development site.

      If I was using WPMU I would definitely become a member of WPMU Premium DEV because you have accessed to the latest mu-plugins and themes developed, plus get a high level of support in the forums.

      Plugins that they haven’t made available however are Batch & User Creator or Batch Create. But you can check out the plugins to see what ones are currently available without being a member. We are also in the process of increasing support material for the site which will be available in the next few weeks.

      • Sue – thanks for the great article!

        I have a similar question – is there a handy list of the education specific customizations that you mention in the article?

        Thanks!

  6. Hi Sue,

    I’m a fourth year primary education student (just about to go on my internship) and have recently begun to follow your blog.

    I am currently conducting a small document based research project, the body of which i will be investigating and comparing various platforms for classroom blogging.

    I am also required to complete a short literature review, looking research published in journals re: blogging. I was wondering if you could point me in the direction of particular researchers/journals I should look at.

    I appreciate your time,

    Luke

    • Hi Luke, trouble is often the best information about blogging is being published in blog posts and not necessarily journals. I don’t suppose they are going to allow you to link to posts? There are several books on blogging that you could refer to and I know they have previews on Google Book search.

      Please don’t hesitate to ask if you have any questions about Edublogs, Edublogs Campus and Blogs.mu.

      • Hi Sue

        Thanks for the reply. I will certainly be able to use the expertise within blogs in the body of my paper. Unfortunately I will only be able to use peer reviewed journal articles for the literature review component…

        I pretty much said the same thing to my supervisor i.e. Most of the writing that experts on blogging do will be found in their blogs!

        Hopefully I may have a couple of interesting questions to ask you further down the line re: Edublogs.

        Thanks again for your time,

        Luke

  7. @Doug Glad you like the article and sorry but I need to write the response down here. I really must talk to Richie (our theme designer) about threaded comments text on WPMU-Dixi.

    I’m assuming by “handy list of the education specific customizations” you mean for a WPMU install?

    If so, this list on WPMU DEV will help – http://premium.wpmudev.org/wpmu-and-buddypress-plugins/premium-wpmu-plugins-separated-into-categories-to-make-selecting-plugins-easier/

    Most of the customisations we use on Edublogs and Edublogs Campus are released onto WPMU DEV.

    Main ones are: Add User (not released yet), Add New User, Blog & User Creator, Batch Create (to be used wisely), Forums, Site Search, Blog Directory, Members Directory, Terms of service, Global Site Tags, Content monitor, Admin Message, Admin panel tips, Rebranding WPMU, Google Analytics for WordPress MU – Sitewide AND single blog solution!, Lock post, Default theme, MailChimp Newsletter Integration (really love this one), Recent Global Comments Widget, Recent Global Posts Widget, Avatars, Comment Indexer; Post Indexer

    Laughing I probably should write a post to explain value of each and why we use?

    • Hi Sue – Thanks for the list – that is really helpful for a comparison I’m helping put together.

      Yes, a post on education specific WPMU customizations would quite likely be useful for a number of people. Thanks again!

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